Clean Out Your Closets!
Okay Monadnock Region, I hope you’re ready because I’m teaming up with Modern Saint Living, Helpsy, and the Monadnock Food Coop to host a Textile Recycling Drive. We’re gathering up all your unusable goodies, from that bridesmaid dress you'll never wear again to the sun-bleached curtains taking up real estate in your linen closet.
If you have clothing or household cloths that are ready to be recycled, help us divert this region’s textile leftovers from the landfill by joining this event Sunday, October 16. You can bring a new kind of sustainability lens to the area by focusing on fashion with us. It may seem like a small dent, but let me tell you how much of a difference it may actually make.
An Impressive Textile Collection Track Record
I'm lucky to be joining forces with Nichole Bainer of #ModernSaintLiving, who has been holding Textile Recycling Events for years in both CT and NH. So far, she has collected over !8,000 POUNDS! of textiles that have been recycled and resold. WOW!
As a sustainable fashion consultant, Nichole understands the value of keeping textiles out of landfills and incinerators.
In fact, she wants to help everyone feel better about their closets and offer shopping advice to those who really need to purchase clothing but want to do so sustainably. Think you might need some help with your closet? Find out more here.
Meet Our Host: Monadnock Food Coop
The community-owned #monadnockcoop in Keene, NH is dedicated to sustainability. You can see their solar panels on the roof of their storefront, but it doesn't end there. They hold up local and community farm and food businesses and organizations with a focus on making lives in the Monadnock Region better and closer together. It is awesome to have their support for this textile recycling event!
A Little Help from Helpsy
#Helpsy is a B-Corp collecting clothing (and selling it) mainly in the Northeastern US. It's actually the largest textile recycler in this part of the country! The company collects both textiles and shoes for resale and recycling. They have even opened their own online stores to sell garments they collect that are resalable.
So what's their story? As a B-Corp, Helpsy has demonstrated a commitment to people, planet, and not just profit. This is a certification you can learn more about here. It is often referred to as the 3 Ps since B-Corps are interested in helping the planet and people find a way to be more sustainable while also being transparent about how they make a profit.
As a recycling collector, Helpsy gathers garments using collection bins, home pickup (in certain areas - see if your areas is one of them here), and local collection events with other businesses and nonprofits. During our event scheduled in Keene on October 16th we'll collect textiles, clothing, shoes, and other items, see a full list here (be sure to scroll down) to keep these items from landfills.
So, how can they collect clean stained and damaged items and make a profit? Because they also collect resalable items through their recycling programs and partnerships with large retail stores, such as Bloomingdales.
That is the rub, for their model of recycling to work, (actual recycling of textiles, upcycling, or resale), both low quality and high quality items need to be recycled at collection sites. Too many low quality textiles and they are left selling these them to be made into rags or furniture filling. And that isn't sufficiently profitable to sustain the business model. For this model to work, recycling collections need to incorporate a mix of items. That's why we need everyone's help on the 16th!
Is Textile Recycling REALLY the Cure to Over-Consumption?
NO---if the fashion industry continues to create clothing at the level they are today, we will never be able to recycle the garments at a sufficient speed, even at the scale of a business like Helpsy.
This isn't a total long-term answer, but it will always be part of the mix to help create a circular economy around clothing. For now, it is one solution until legislative actions can force industries to create less clothing more sustainably, and we as consumers purchase less, and repair more.
The reality is that every garment made has a environmental and socioeconomic impact. Our planet is suffering from the clothing industry's use & polluting of water and lands, as well as the poor treatment of workers in many countries. Has some progress been made? Yes, but fast fashion still rules the day and this means that the planet and people are suffering from it.
Numbers quoted in many articles estimate that between 100-150 billion pieces of clothing are made each year and totals are growing. The question is, does every person on earth purchase between 12-18 pieces of clothing yearly? Not likely, which indicates that many people are purchasing many more.
How many pieces of clothing do you purchase in a year?
Could you commit to half this & advocate for your family and friends to follow your lead with a commitment of their own?
Only when we get engaged and engage with others on a meaningful level can real change happen. It might sound corny, but we must be the change we want. Let's do it together!
I hope to see you October 16th if you live in the Monadnock Region. And remember, for the event to be a success we need a mix of textiles from clean but stained items to resalable items. Sign up today if you haven't already!